Understanding HCI

Participatory Heuristic Evaluation

What is Participatory Heuristic Evaluation?

Participatory Heuristic Evaluation (PHE) is an extension of the traditional Heuristic Evaluation where a number of design guidelines are applied to a design or prototype by usability experts. PHE uses the same techniques, however users are included as ‘work-domain expert inspectors’. Extra heuristics are added to include the user experience. In addition to the 13 heuristics identified in heuristic evaluation, Participatory Heuristic Evaluation facilitates the checking of

  1. task flow
  2. suitability of design to task
  3. suitability of design to user
  4. quality of work produced

Affinity diagramming can be used to represent and aid analysis of the data generated by identifying natural patterns and groupings embedded in the information.

Why Use it?

Previously unknown problems are uncovered with this method. In particular, users of the system in this case will have better knowledge of the existing system and may be aware of issues which the designers were not. With the use of the prototype, they may be easily able to identify issues of quality or suitability of prototype for different tasks.

According to Nielson training for heuristic evaluation takes only a few hours and this can be built into the evaluation schedule.

Participants Needed

Ideally 3-5. Due to the small pool of users, 3 is acceptable: c1, c2, r1 (see Appendix C). Nielson (1995, para.6) found in a study that over 50% of respondents used 2 evaluators or less.

Task List

  • Retrieve patient record
  • Retrieve patient results from lab
  • Edit patient record by adding in a new consultation

Conditions required

  • Small quiet room with LAN access
  • 3 PDA’s with prototype
  • Dummy records and results prepared
  • PHE task and evaluation sheets.

Limitations Of method

Users may not be able to add any further information to that of the heuristic evaluation of the experts, because of their lack of understanding of usability principles and rationale.